Vaccination rates and kids sports, how paranoid is too paranoid?

Q.

I’m trying to decide if my child should participate in after-school soccer at a school with a high (greater than 60%) percentage of unvaccinated children.

My elementary aged child has been playing fall soccer outdoors and enjoying it immensely. Fall session is ending and she wants to keep playing. However, the winter session is being held indoors in the auditorium of an elementary school with a low vaccination rate.

Carli Lloyd.

Carli Lloyd – Midfielder, Houston Dash
by Victor Araiza from Houston, TX, United States of America – CC BY 2.0

I’m leery about signing her up for the winter session, but can’t decide if I am being too cautious. She won’t be in the classrooms sharing desk surfaces, etc., but I start imagining door handles, water fountains, gym walls that aren’t thoroughly cleaned. Also, it’s kids follow-the-ball-in-a-herd soccer, so there is a lot of incidental contact, so even if I am vigilant about not letting her touch door handles, some other kids won’t be as careful.

Additional Info: She has had all the recommended vaccinations + recent flu shot. She is not immuno-compromised in any way.

A.

The world around us is filled with unvaccinated or under-vaccinated humans. It’s is highly unlikely that your daughter hasn’t already been in the situation you mention. However, this isn’t how vaccines work. Doctors are concerned about the unvaccinated children, not the vaccinated ones. Your child is already protected to the best of your ability. Well done you! Allowing her to participate will not heighten her exposure beyond what she already encounters at school, a playground, the circus…

So, sign her up and let her dream!

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